What is theft?

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What is theft?

Theft is the act of taking uncertain things that is not yours. If someone’s thing or property is taking without the person knowing about it use or for sale, then the person has committed theft.

The bible also talk about theft and said “Let the thief no longer steal”. This version can be found in Ephesians 4:289(a).

Britannica explains in law, a term covering a number of different specific types of stealing, including the crimes ofrobbery, larceny andburglary.

This is the act of physically removing of an object capable of being stolen without the approval of the rightful owner, caretaker or with the intention of depriving the owner permanent from having access to the object in question. The theft may not necessary need to keep the side object by his or her self. But the intentions to sell destroy or even abandon the said object in a circumstance where no one can find it constitute theft.

Why do people steal?

In the court ofplayingbaseball, one triestostealabaseand not to gettaggedout.In playingbasketball,youneed tostealtheball from the other players on the other team. A stolen baseorastealonthe basketballcourtcanhelpyourteam win the game. This type of stealing makes the game interesting and it partofthegame.

People steal just for the fun of it or because their friends involved them into it. Most of them steal to buy things they need. Most grownups use to steal monies or coins from their parent when they were young. For example, when I was a little boy I use to take my mother’s coins or money for sweets, which I never knew or understand at the age it was called stealing and it was a crime.

Stealing as a form of crime can be attributed to various reasons. The positivist as in the case of Lombroso argued that criminals are differently evolved from normal humans. If the criminals are been seen as being different from the normal law-abiding citizens and could be identified. There will be a possibility that crime could be reduced, perhaps even abolish from society. That explains why a family of thieves can exist. His research further explains that criminals have unusually shaped and abnormal jaws, noses, long arms and an abundance of wrinkles on the face.

Yet still there is this other school of thought among positivist that criminal behavior is a result of low intelligence. In a research conduct by Newburn he suggests the following;

  • The low level of intellect could be linked to poor decision making skills or lack of considerable thinking.
  • The level of low intellect may be linked to being frustrated and poor impulse control.
  • Low brightness could link to low educational effort, which links to impaired life opportunities.
  • Higher intellect may empower a better understanding of rules and norms, and the skills to assess the risks and rank of criminal behaviour.

This clearly illustrates why most thieves are found in slums and theft is associated with “unsuccessful” people. It also goes further too clearly indicate why majority of criminals have low IQ and intelligence. But this does not mean that all criminals could have been affected with low intellect. There are thieves who have high IQ and are mostly associated with white-collar crimes.

Also it is believed that one of the key, Hans Eysenck a German psychologist suggested that a key component often left out when understanding reasons why people steal or would commit crime is that of personality. The personality as defines by Britannica isa specific way of thinking, feeling, and conduct. A person accepts moods, attitudes, opinions and is most clearly expressed in situation with other people. It also contains behavioral characteristics which is both inherent and acquired. It makes oneself different from oneperson to another and can be noticed in people’s affiliation to the surroundings and to the communities groups.

Hans classified the following types of behaviours which he linked to criminality as

  • Extroversion (E) - Assertive, creative, dominant, active and sensation-seeking
  • Neuroticism (N) - Anxious, shy, depressed, moody, low self-esteem

He asserted that criminals would have the extreme ends or levels of the characteristics of each personality name above.

The Classical believes that there are theoretical reasons why theft is especially crime committed. Whereas the Positivist link it more to various factors which are not within the control of the criminals?

A classical theory is that of Classical School and Deterring Crime. In this theory it was argued that prior to the modern times, there was nothing like imprisonment for crimes. Prisons were not holding criminals but rather to keep suspects while they await trial or the implementation of a punishment. The price or the fact of existence for someone to be a criminal is greater than the vengeance it would bring on the criminals. The theory would predict that far beyond punishments that will prevent people from all sorts of crimes.

The proposal to have made prisons to be depending on the degree of crime on an appropriate sentencing would be melted out to the offender of the law. A reason is given that; people are able to exercise free choice as to their behavior. They should clearly know the costs when they should be caught. The aim of prison was solely to punish the offender for their acts. They would lose their freedom if they have to endure the hardships of being confined to a penal establishment. Part of the objective is not only to punish them for their criminal behaviour but also to expose them to an experience whereby they would be deterred from any potential future criminality.

This classical theory may have been true since the loss of contact with family and friends; one could live in a certain way and will be able to prevent criminals. Knowing and having seen the possibility that one may end up spending the rest of his life or a part of his life away in confinement and isolation is alone enough to prevent a criminal from stealing.

Are punishments necessary to deter theft?

The classical believe that the mere introduction of punishment is there to deter criminals. Classical with the school of deterring crime believe that until prisons where introduced theft and other forms of crime where abundant and will have still been prevalent in today’s society.

They again believe that the introduction of policing had lead greatly to the situation where crime especially theft is hardly committed. It is believe that the mere presence of a policeman is bound to prevent a criminal from even thinking of the crime. Their belief even though may be tough could have greatly helped to deter crime and will not have totally deterred crime.

The positivist has believed a factor beyond the control of the criminal or thief responsible for causing the criminal to act in that manner. Positivism establishes law as not with all valid causes for choice but with the source-based subset of them. At this part the positivists demand that the measure of awareness tells us how to decide on cases or even tells us all the important reasons for the judgment in stealing or other crime. The positivist receives the moral, political or economic support in taking everything into account.

In the case of psychological; it is believe that since criminal have low intelligence, then having the power to increase their intelligence levels through education and proper training is likely to increase the thinking and creative ability of the criminal. This could be through informal training, vocational and formal training.

The positivists believe that the formality may be at its best when all are in accordance with the morals that expand. The laws arenotbest when it surpass in legality, law must be just. A society can endure not only from the guideline of law. It is not assume that justice is the sole or the level power of a legal system. This means that its concern for the justice is one of its virtues, which cannot be outside by any claim of that sort and that the law's aim is to have a law to its degree.

The others believe that, the extreme personality traits leads to the tendency to commit crime or theft. It also indicates the development of social skills and the appropriate tools for social integration which can help criminals to properly use their personality for good causes and not for crime.

Reference

John Bowlby (1946) Hodges and Tizard

Legal Positivism (First published Fri Jan 3, 2003) Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/legal-positivism/

Newburn (2007:121). Why a family of thieves can exist

Personality - Encyclopedia Britannica: Retrieved from Wikipedia website http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/452993/personality

SELECT 100 LEGAL ARTICLES OF KPC RAO AND Dr PADMA :( April 2011) Retrieved from http://kpcraoindia.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/

Theories of crime- virgin media

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/gary.sturt/crime/theocrim.htm

Psychological Explanation, University of Portsmouth Retrieved from

http://compass.port.ac.uk/UoP/file/99196d95-e751-481a-af36-da7072f5dfcf/1/Scientific Theories_IMSLRN.zip/page_03.htm

Walklate, S. (2003) Understanding Criminology: Current theoretical debates (2nd ed.). Buckingham: Open University Press

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